Vanderbilt, Meharry establish new Center for AIDS Research

NASHVILLE -- AIDS research in Nashville -- and research into racial disparities related to the disease nationwide -- has been given a big boost with the establishment of a new, federally funded center to be operated jointly by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College.

The Vanderbilt Meharry Developmental Center for AIDS Research, supported by a three-year, $750,000-a-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is one of 20 CFARs (centers for AIDS research) that have been established nationwide since 1988. Dr. Richard T. D'Aquila, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt, will direct the center.

The goal of the grant is to encourage collaboration between Vanderbilt, a top-15 medical school, and Meharry, one of the country's oldest historically African American medical school, to train new investigators to advance AIDS treatment and prevention. At the end of the three-year grant period, the center can apply for full center status and a larger continuation grant.

Vanderbilt and Meharry have been collaborating for several years on research involving the human immunodeficiency virus. Current AIDS-related funding by the NIH at both institutions exceeds $7 million.

The new center is an initiative of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, established in 1999 to promote collaboration between the two institutions in teaching, research and patient care.

"This center will bring the core research infrastructure of Vanderbilt together with Meharry's expertise in treating HIV/AIDS, particularly among minority populations," said Dr. PonJola Coney, dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president for health affairs at Meharry. "It is another example showing how the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance enables our institutions to obtain new resources that neither institution could obtain singly."

According to Janet M. Young, Ph.D., CFAR program officer in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectio

Contact: Clinton Colmenares
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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